Ireland wakes up to ITSM

18 Sep 2006

Awareness of IT service management (ITSM), a method for IT departments to contribute directly to the business, is finally starting to take hold in Ireland, one of the country’s leading exponents has said.

According to Karl Howley, who heads up the IT Service Management practice at I.T. Alliance, ITSM principles have been widely adopted elsewhere but Ireland is “years behind the curve”. “That’s not always a bad thing,” he added, pointing out that Irish chief information officers can learn from experiences in other countries. “It’s matured and the framework has been adopted and fine tuned,” he said.

ITSM is based around the framework known as IT Infrastructure Library, which is an industry-recognised checklist of best practice in the area of delivering IT services to a business.

I.T. Alliance, an Irish-owned technology services firm, has established a dedicated ITSM Centre which it expects will employ 10 people over the next 12 months. The new division offers consulting, staffing, project management and training. Howley said that it would promote awareness of ITSM among Irish organisations on one hand and would also be putting in place skills and knowledge within the industry so that IT service providers and outsourcing firms can deliver services that comply with these standards.

“As we train and educate organisations about the benefits, more and more will see value in it, will demand it and want to adopt it,” said Howley, who is one of the founding officers and a director of the Irish chapter of the international IT Service Management Forum (itSMF), which is in the process of being set up in Ireland.

“What the framework is about is recognising that IT is a function and its role is to provide a service. It’s not always been that way. Culturally, IT organisations were more seen around technology metrics, not business metrics,” said Howley.

He added that the ultimate goal was to align technology more closely with the goals of the company and to bring value to the business instead of being viewed as technology for its own sake. “Every service IT provides should be exclusively driven by demand from the business; it’s helping organisations to be more business aligned.”

These developments come at a time when there is much debate about the role IT plays within a company. A study by IBM Business Consulting Services earlier this year found that although 78pc of chief executives believe that integrating business and technology is vital to business growth, only 45pc believe that their organisations had successfully managed this integration.

By Gordon Smith